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Mar 15, 2021 | Cyber

Cyber crime and Cyber security: the risks are real


 What is cyber crime?

Whether you a business or an individual, cyber crime and security is fast becoming top priority for all of us, second only to the impact of the coronavirus. Now more than ever we using our electronic devices to work, shop and transact. In essence, exposing and increasing risk for businesses and consumers alike.

Cyber crimes are any crimes committed by individuals or organizations using technology. Cyber crime is a fast-growing area of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual. 

Types of cyber crime

1. Phishing
Is an attempt by actors to get people do to something they would not usual do. Example: click on a malicious URL or email attachment. This is done to steal your login details, to gain unauthorized access to personal information and banking accounts.

2. Ransomware
This is where a person’s/businesses computer is infected. After infection, ransom ware commonly encrypts the data and then demands payment for the return of such data.

3. Malware
Malware often target users’ financial information by installing keyloggers onto victims’ computers. This can be done by phishing attacks and installing malicious software packages.  Once installed, attackers can use the malware to spy on online activities, steal personal and financial information or hack into other systems.

4. Identity Theft
Attackers can do all kinds of things with a person’s identity. They can seize control of victims’ banking credentials, apply for new banking accounts, steal users’ hard-earned savings, and more. All they need are some key bits of information about you to convince a bank or a customer service representative that they’re you.

5. Scams
Scams are designed to convey an enticing offer that in many cases attempts to trick users into sending over money. Of course, those offers are baseless, and victims end up losing money in the process. In life, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Top 10 cybercrime prevention tips

1. Use strong passwords

2. Secure your computer – Activate firewalls, they are the first line of cyber defense. Use anti-virus/malware software. Prevent viruses from infecting your computer by installing and regularly updating anti-virus software. Block spyware attacks. Prevent spyware from infiltrating your computer by installing and updating anti-spyware software.

3. Be social media savvy – Make sure your social networking profiles, for example, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MSN, among other social networks, are set to private. Check your security settings. Be careful what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever!

4. Secure your mobile devices – Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers. Download applications from trusted sources.

5. Install the latest operating system updates – Keep your applications and operating system, for example Windows, Mac, and Linux, up to date with the latest system updates. Turn on automatic updates to prevent potential attacks on older software.

6. Protect your data – Use encryption for your most sensitive files, such as tax returns or financial records, back up all your important data regularly and store it in another location.

7. Secure your wireless network – Wi-Fi (wireless) networks at home are vulnerable to intrusion if they are not secured properly. Review and modify default settings. Public Wi-Fi, also known as ‘hotspots’, is also vulnerable. Avoid performing financial or corporate transactions on these networks.

8. Protect your e-identity – Be cautious when giving out personal information, such as your name, address, phone number or financial information on the Internet. Make sure that websites are secure, for example, when making online purchases, or that you have enabled privacy settings, for example, when accessing/using social networking sites.

9. Avoid being scammed – Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin. Do not feel pressured by any emails. Check the source of the message. When in doubt, verify the source. Never reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or confirm your user ID or password.

10. Call the right person for help – Do not panic! If you are a victim, if you encounter illegal Internet content, for example, child exploitation, or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft or a commercial scam, report this at your local police station. If you need help with maintenance or software installation on your computer, contact your service provider or a certified computer technician.

What a cyber crime incident could mean for your business?

The immediate effect of a cyber-attack is of course business interruption. You can’t run a business if you can’t use your computers or access important data, so you could lose valuable company time. Secondly, the reputational damage could be immense. Personal and business clients provide you with important personal information that could cause great financial damage if it fell into the wrong hands.

Depending on the damage that is done, you could be held liable and even face litigation. Therefore it’s imperative to have security measures in place to safeguard this information. Invest in backing up your files daily and to store the data offsite or in the cloud. If you fall victim to cyber crime, you will have the most current records of the system, which should shorten any downtime considerably.

Source: SHA | Cyber

How to keep your business safe from cyber-attacks?

Create your own security policy: Keep abreast of the latest cyber threats. Train and educate staff about the dangers of cyber crime and their role in preventing such incidents. Caution staff about common trick used and stress the need to create strong passwords that should be changed regularly. Encourage them ask questions before clicking on attachments or if anything does not feel right.

Passwords: A strong password is at least 10 characters long and includes symbols (%,@,*) and numbers.

Be careful with software installations: Be strict about what can be installed on company computers without authorisation to increase your computer security.

Install a firewall and anti-virus software: These barriers have been designed to oppose spyware and virus and phishing attacks.

Block access to restricted sites with internet filters: This will prevent employees and hackers from uploading data to storage clouds.

Keep operating systems, software and browsers updated: Those pesky updates can be annoying but they exist for a reason so always performs them. Called ‘patches’, they exist to fix vulnerabilities in the software you use that can be exploited by hackers or malware.

Final thoughts

  • Have a robust back-up strategy that backs up your data daily
  • Don’t skimp on IT support
  • Get adequate insurance cover
  • Update anti-virus software regularly
  • Don’t open suspicious e-mails or attachments
  • Block unnecessary ports
  • Keep operating systems current
  • Don’t only back up data, check how to restore this data too
  • Ideally keep three copies of data, two locally (external storage device) and one off site  


Prevention is better than cure…by exercising common sense and following best practices, we hope this insight adds value. 

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